MLB suspends Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco for 10 games after sticky substance found during last start

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Major League Baseball suspended Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco for 10 games Wednesday, one day after umpires discovered a sticky substance on his glove during a start against the Oakland A’s.

Blanco, who also received an undisclosed fine as part of his punishment, was ejected from Tuesday’s game after first-base umpire Erich Bacchus said he found “the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove since we’ve been doing this.” Both Blanco and Astros manager Joe Espada claimed the substance was rosin mixed with sweat.

After Tuesday’s game, Blanco said he planned to appeal any potential suspension. Houston cannot replace him on its active roster during the suspension, depleting an already threadbare pitching staff during a stretch of 16 consecutive games without an off day.

The Astros had planned to deploy a six-man rotation, but Blanco’s absence will prevent it. J.P. France is battling a shoulder injury in Triple A, too, depriving the team of any established depth. Houston now has just five healthy, major-league starters on its 40-man roster.

Blanco has been the Astros’ best starter this season, emerging from relative obscurity to stabilize a spiraling rotation. He lowered his ERA to 2.09 with three scoreless innings on Tuesday. Only six qualified starters have a better one. Seven of Houston’s 17 victories this season have come in games Blanco has started.

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(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

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